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The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

A woman in prison awaiting a death sentence is given a reprieve because she is pregnant. She migrates to America abandoning the baby to the care of a foster mother. The child, a girl, grows up and begins working as a servant in a wealthy household. Here she is pursued by the two sons of the house and ultimately marries the younger one. When he dies, leaving her with two young children to look after, she begins a life of deception and confidence trickery which ends in great tragedy and disgrace. In her old age, events take a less tragic turn and her redemption comes from sources she least expects.First published in 1762, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe is not as well known as his most famous novel, Robinson Crusoe. However, it gained enormous popularity as a social and psychological document of the traditions, customs and manners of the eighteenth century, and was reputed to be based on a true story.The full title of the book is almost a mini-synopsis! The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a ------, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.Peopled with a collection of interesting characters, the book is thought-provoking and unusually bold for its time, with the heroine being quite different from the good, chaste, long-suffering lady of that era. However, her boundless optimism, strength, self-assertiveness and matter-of-fact shrewdness are attractive in their own way.

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